Search Engine Optimization and Meta Descriptions

Search engines use web crawlers, also known as bots to index the web with maximum speed and efficiency, cataloging every web page they come across. As the bot scans a web page it collects HTML code from the source of the page, updating the search engine database with information pulled from this code. Certain parts of the code hold precedence over others, and some of the segments within the code can have a substantial impact on the search engine ranking of that page for a particular keyword.

For example, heading tag is used to describe the heading of a piece of content, which usually depicts the topic of the article. This, if a search engine picks up a heading tag that appears as <h1>This is a Header Tag</h1> then the bot will conclude that this article must be about one of or a group of words contained in that heading tag. Obviously the outcome of this algorithm will differ depending upon the overall structure of the page, but in general this is how HTML tags work.

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What are Meta Descriptions

Meta descriptions are basically short summary paragraphs that describe a web page and it’s content. When you search for a site in the search engines, the small description that you see below the site link is known as the meta description. This description serves not only potential site visitors but also the search engines themselves, as they provide insight to the nature of the page itself. The reason why meta descriptions are so important in search engine optimization is because they greatly affect the ranking of a site or page or a particular keyword. For example, if the meta description contains a sentence pertaining to “meta tags” then the search engine would therefore recognize the page as being related to meta tags. Thus if, a meta tag contains a selection of keywords, then this page would likely rank highly for these keywords.

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How are Meta Descriptions Created

Meta descriptions are formulated from the first paragraph or a section of the first paragraph on the page. Which means that the user does not really have a lot of control over what their meta description looks like. This means that the first couple of words of a web page are the most important part in regards to their search engine ranking. However there are other ways to create quality meta tags that are not actually contained on the page itself.

Meta Description Plugins

One of the ways you can create a meta description for your page that does not contain the first couple of sentences on your page is to use a plugin for WordPress called Headspace. If you use the right plugin then you can create a meta description based on whatever text you would like. This can be especially helpful for users that are trying to optimize a page for a keyword without stuffing the keyword in the beginning text of the content.

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